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Meat is one of the main foods in a person's diet if they are not vegetarian or vegan. Even though in recent years perspectives that question both morality and the need to consume meat from other animals have gained currency, meat products have been fundamental throughout the history of humanity.
In this article, we will talk about the benefits and risks of the most consumed 6 types of meat (red and white): Beef or veal, pork, sheep and lamb, chicken and other birds, and blue and white fish. To do this, we will focus on the most popular distinction in this area: the one that separates red and white meat.
Generally, when we talk about red meat, we refer to the products that come from mammals such as cows, pigs, horses, sheep or deer, mainly when these are adults. However, as we will see in this article, it is not always like this.
The color of red meat is attributed to its high concentration of myoglobin, a mammalian protein involved in oxygen processing and closely related to the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Myoglobin is common in red or striated musculature, and its pigmentation justifies the tonality of meat rich in this protein.
Let's see which are the characteristics of the main types of red meat:
Hamburgers, ribs, or beef and veal steaks are probably the most representative examples of red meat.
This food is very rich in oleic acid, a particularly healthy type of fat found in olive oil, among other foods, which is why eating beef with a lot of fat is not bad for health if done in moderation.
Pork meat is used to prepare food such as ham, sausages, bacon, or prosciutto (cured ham). Nearly all the parts of the body of pigs are susceptibles to be used as food, from the head and the dewlap to the extremities, the tail or the gonad.
In addition to being a particularly inexpensive type of meat, pork contains significant amounts of vitamin B1, also called thiamine, which plays a crucial role in metabolism and blood circulation.
This type of meat is also rich in zinc and selenium, minerals that boost the immune system. However, it is essential to cook it well because of its high risk of having some bacteria and diseases.
Sheepmeat is considered one of the healthiest types. This is influenced by the high concentrations of important nutrients to defenses such as vitamin B, selenium and zinc, as well as their optimal ratio between omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. However, lamb is expensive compared to other red meats.
Compared to red meat, the white one is relatively weak in myoglobin, and it consists mainly of smooth muscle fibers. Generally, we can say that white meat is all that meat that does not come from a mammal.
The concept of "white meat" can be somewhat ambiguous since it is a terminology that has the primary function of distinguishing this type of meat from red meat, which is why we include very varied foods in this category.
When you think about white meat, you think about meat from birds such as turkey, duck and, above all, chicken.
As for chicken, the most representative of this kind, we can say that it is nutritious and low in calories; however, as with pigs, these animals can be fed in an unhealthy and unsanitary way.
The term "blue fish" is used to talk about food such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, swordfish or mackerel. What all these fish have in common is that the percentage of fat in their musculature goes over 5% of the total mass; it is precisely this fat that gives them their characteristic bluish tone.
Blue fish is highly recommended because of its high content in omega 3 fatty acids, which contribute to the regulation of the circulatory system and they can replace other meats with less healthy lipids. Of course, the quality of each specific piece greatly influences its nutritional properties.
White fish have a low amount of fat in their musculature, so, in general, this type of meat is not as nutritious as blue fish.
Among the food we find in this category, we can highlight hake, sole, angler fish, megrim, turbot, and cod, particularly when it has not undergone a salting process.
Recipes with meat
Meat can be roasted, stewed, larded or in sauce, among other methods, and with minced meat, you can create many dishes such as lasagne, cannelloni, chili, meatballs, and stuffing in general. In the following lines, you will find a list of ideas for popular meat dishes.
Lean meat is especially recommended for some of these recipes because it contains a lower amount of fat and therefore prevents to some degree the weight gain associated with meat consumption. A low-fat beef steak or a skinless chicken breast are two good examples.